The Wire, Season 5

What is there to say about this show that hasn’t already been said? I’m not sure, because I haven’t even begun to delve into the pages and articles of intelligent criticism that this show has inevitably garnered. I can finally look at all that stuff now, having finished the odyssey, and it is rather satisfying (though bittersweet) to be at the end. I think that reading up on it will only enhance the experience, since it’s such a complex show, so perhaps I’ll revisit this review again after I have done that.

But for now, I guess I’ll say that the main thing that struck me about this season was how extremely the characters acted. Jimmy McNulty wasn’t just a rabble-rouser—he faked the existence of a serial killer and pulled Freamon and Sydnor in with him. Meanwhile, Bunk steered clear of the whole operation, Omar abandoned his code in the name of a new code (vengeance) and characters started dropping like flies. The symbolism was raging like a pyre, but it wasn’t sopping with sentimentality, either. These people that we had grown to love over 60 episodes, the pure imperfection of Daniels, Rhonda, Carcetti, Marlo, Snoop, Prop Joe, Michael Lee, Bubbles, everyone, they all became their own types of martyrs and heroes in their own rights, regardless of which “side” they were on.

And, meanwhile, we got a taste for David Simon’s own industry, journalism, and how corrupt and sensationalized it’s becoming. The actors that comprised the newsroom did all that frustration justice, and it was as joyous and painful as it gets in there.

I can’t wait to watch this show again, from the beginning. I can’t wait to see the arcs develop, to appreciate Dominic West and Andre Royo and Lance Reddick and Wendell Pierce and Sonja Sohn and Idris Elba and Wood Harris and Michael K. Williams and Jamie Hector and Felicia Pearson and all of them the way they deserve to be appreciated. I feel like every time I watch it, I’ll catch something new and brilliant. If you haven’t watched this show, listen to all the people who are telling you to. It won’t disappoint.